The Sittaford Mystery (1931)
The narration is top-notch and very smooth. The story is classic Christie from the 1930s and is the first to feature the supernatural in her novels. For me, this novel has a "sense of urgency"--I couldn't put it down, wanting to keep reading to find a surprise. There is old-fashioned Christie deception and red herrings (nothing wrong with that, right?). I quite liked the use of the supernatural and seances in this story.
The story is this: Captain Trevelyan is killed at home clear across town during a terrible blizzard. And he's murdered at the same time that his death is announced through a seance at a dinner party. That spooks everyone out and the hostess forbids a seance in the future. His best friend, Burnaby, is upset at this joke and travels to the Captain's place (called Hazelmoor) to only find him--dead.
It is up to Burnaby the friend, a young reporter named Enderby, and a young lass named Emily to find the killer. Emily Trefusis is very much concerned in the murder since her arrested fiance is the nephew of the dead man. She sets out to clear his name by doing anything and everything in her power to succeed. Not everything is what it seems at Sittaford, the place of the dinner/seance. The hostess, Mrs. Willett, is not very communicative with investigators and several people in the neighborhood are secretive. The characters are excellently written by Christie and the murderer is a classic Christie blueprint (not a bad thing).